I (almost) never buy new releases but I knew this would be special. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas immediately piqued my interest when I first started hearing about it on BookTube. I went out the Wednesday after it came out and bought the hardcover and Barnes and Noble. I was interested to see a take on the Black Lives Matter movement brought to a broad YA audience.
The Hate U Give is the story of 16-year-old Starr Carter. Starr is a black girl who lives in the “hood” but attends a predominately white prep school. Starr is also the sole witness of her unarmed, black best friend, Khalil, being shot by a police officer. The book looks at the obvious issues of race, but it takes it a step forward. It explores family dynamic, community dynamics, loyalty, societal pressures, and friendship. Each issue is woven into the main story in an intelligent and honest way. Starr’s character resonated with me in a way that I had not expected. She was written in a way that was so real. Her voice felt authentically 16 with her woes and worries. I loved the family dynamic in this book. The family dynamic was something that you don’t often see in a YA book. This family was close and there was no getting in between them. The friendships were truly something that teenagers would have to deal with. Even as a 30 something year old, I have had friends who acted out or didn’t want to deal with the issues at hand and Hailey was the perfect portrait of this character. I felt the way that situation was handled was very well and true to reality.
The entire time I read this book I could not believe that this was Angie Thomas’ first novel. The writing was descriptive in a simplistic way that made it a very fast read. I loved how she offered some normalcy in the midst of a very heavy topic. It never came of as contrived. Angie Thomas was able to write a story where she expressed her opinion in a way that could be debated but her position was clear. None of the characters ever felt like caricatures that were completely unbelievable.
I could literally talk about this book all day so I will end this review now. I highly recommend this book for everyone. This book has easily become my favorite read of the year (so far) but I know it will be at least in the top 5 for the year. I have heard that the audiobook is good too, so if you don’t have time to read the physical book or you prefer audiobooks, this would be a good one to pick up.
If you have read this book, please let me know what you thought of it.
Parental Guide: gun violence, strong language, mild sexual activity, gang violence. Nothing that would deter me from allowing my own child to read this book (when he’s old enough, of course).